Explorer Trading Cards

In social studies, we are currently studying about early European Exploration of the New World.  To get the students researching and learning about the time period, I thought I would combine our computer lab time with something related to our social studies topic.

I wanted something that my students could complete rather quickly (we only had a few sessions left in the computer lab) *and* would allow them to apply the lessons we have been learning about researching, parsing questions, and word processing skills such as changing the font and importing clip art.  When I went on an internet search and came across this fabulous {free} template for an Explorer Trading Card from Ginger Snaps.

There are two different templates.  One is a static, prefilled topic one that you can use if you don't have computer access for the students.  The other one, however, is an editable power point that the students can actually type on!

Once I found the template, I knew that this fit what I was looking for to a T!  The computer lab teacher put the template on each computer for the kids to access and then we all got to work.

For our first session, I gave the students an explorer and a graphic organizer to help them research the information that I wanted them to find.  Since they had already learned how to parse the question and effectively word a search on Google (in previous lessons in the lab), they were off and running rather quickly.  The entire 45 minute computer time was spent filling in the information on the explorer.

The next computer session, I showed the students how to create text boxes and input the researched information.  This actually took a bit longer than I had expected.  I really did have to go box by box with them.  Turns out text boxes are rather tricky for fifth graders to master.

Once they got the basic idea, the students worked on their own with me troubleshooting.  Much of the time, they were ok and managed to work independently.

This did take two computer lab sessions to really get good, thorough information on the card.  So, I would recommend planning at least 3 hours worth of computer time for the students to complete this project as fully as they can.

Overall, I think this project came out just how I wanted it to.  The students were able to use their skills that were learned in the computer lab to create a product that evidenced those skills.  All in all, I am quite happy!

What is a computer project you do that doesn't take *too* much time, but allows the students to showcase their computer skills?


  1. I am literally doing this same lesson in reading/social studies. I also found leveled text on the explorers on TPT that I used in small group. Then I found videos on Discovery Learning that they can watch and take notes from. Then I found articles from enchanted learning that provided even more information. This way, I am meeting reading indicators for paraphrasing information, summarizing information, analyzing cause and effect, gaining information from first hand accounts (got primary resources from some great website that I can include later), inferencing, referring to details, and writing informational text, summarizing, domain specific vocabulary, etc. I plan on writing a post about it, but I have very little time, and i choose kids, husband, relax, then blog. lol

    Ms. Chae Charges In!

    1. Enchanted Learning was a great (easy) resource for my kids to use too. There is also Ducksters that has a lot of info too! Thanks for sharing the resources you found, Ms. Chae!

  2. https://www.gilderlehrman.org/

    The website for primary resources! oh, and they can use all four sources, just like those state tests like!

    Ms. Chae Charges In!


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